SLED denies any investigation underway into alleged threats made by Pine Ridge council member
Pine Ridge, SC (Paul Kirby) - Wednesday morning, a citizen of the town of Pine Ridge contacted The Lexington Ledger about a confrontation she witnessed between the town’s mayor Robert Wells and Councilmember Beth Spires Sturkie. That citizens said she became worried about Sturkie after hearing the two elected officials speaking after the regular town council meeting Tuesday night. During that meeting, two more interim police chiefs, Vincent Silano and Frankie Neeley, resigned from the department citing the mayor’s continuous meddling and micro-managing of the police department.
That concerned citizen says she heard Mayor Robert Wells threaten Sturkie by telling her, “she needs to watch herself.” She said that Wells then alleged that Sturkie threatened him in a message on a town-owned phone. The citizen said that Wells told Sturkie she would be, “considered guilty if anything happened to him. He also told Beth that SLED was investigating her because of some threats against him that Wells found on a town phone that had been used by one of the many former police chiefs,” that citizen continued. “He kept rambling on and threatening her. It was really strange. Beth asked for proof, but he didn’t offer any,” she concluded.
Wednesday afternoon, The Lexington Ledger emailed SLED’s public information officer Tommy Crosby and asked him if he had any knowledge of a request for or the start of an investigation into threats Sturkie made against Wells. Thursday, Crosby emailed us this short statement. “We do not have an investigation regarding the situation you described.”
As of this Friday, October 16, 2020, SLED has not issued a statement saying they have launched an investigation into anything that has occurred over the past three years at the Pine Ridge Police Department. They have said for that to happen, they would need to receive a written request to do so from either a former or current officer with the police department or an elected official of the town.
The Town of Pine Ridge issued a joint statement Wednesday on behalf of the town and the mayor saying they would not be making any comments or taking any questions regarding any of these matters. They also said they would be happy to cooperate with any investigation by an outside agency.